Book Review: Lost in a Good Book by Fforde (3.5 stars)

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in July 2009

Thursday Next is happily married, pregnant, still working as a Literary Detective in SO-17 and the toast of the town of Swindon for her work in the case of The Eyre Affair. But all is not cookies and cream for long. Landen is eradicated by Goliath Corporation to blackmail Thursday into retrieving one of their employees incarcerated in Poe’s The Raven. And as if that’s not enough, her rogue chronoguard father warns Thursday the world will be consumed in pink gooey slime in a few days. Pickwick, her pet dodo, joins her in motherhood by laying an egg, much to the surprise of her owners who mistakenly assumed she was a he.

A confusing mystery from the alternate reality that Thursday Next operates in. Even she gets pulled dimensionally, becoming a Jurisfiction apprentice to Ms. Havisham of Great Expectations fame.

I enjoyed the puns, play on words and occasional witty humor. It’s a fun read, if a bit confusing at times trying to keep track of the alternate history and mystery.

Book Review: Gardens of the Moon by Erikson (3.5 stars)

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

3.5 out of 5 stars

Read in April 2010

While reading this book, I attended a science fiction convention in Lincoln, Nebraska, where the author guest of honor, Brandon Sanderson, distracted me from finishing this first book of the epic fantasy series Malazon Book of the Fallen in a timely manner. In fact, I stopped reading at the midpoint and asked Brandon during a break between panels, if he had read the series. I explained I struggled to stay focused with the novel because the characters lacked depth and pull. He told me he recommends the series, but advises most readers to start with the second book. With this in mind, I pushed on to the end and enjoyed the last half of Gardens of the Moon.

Not only did the characters suffer from shallowness, but the world building paled to smoke and mirrors and rumors. For such a vast empire pushing for world conquest, I felt only smallness and emptiness, large chunks missing from the puzzle of history and geography. Thus, the motivations of key players revealed late in the game, made little sense and lacked punch.

The last ‘book’ (Book Seven – The Fete) redeemed the previous six by packing in action, duels, sorcerous fights, assassinations, and political maneuvering. Quite a climactic crescendo of discordant convergence.

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Lynch (3 Stars)

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

3 out of 5 stars

Read in November 2009

The lies and deceit took center stage in this story. Only Jean and Locke garnered anything close to full character development. Nearly all the other characters were reduced to plot devices. The fantasy elements played bit parts with the exception of the unbelievably powerful Bondsmage.

The profanity in the dialogue at times put me off. I just find obscenities distracting in contemporary or dark fantasy. Curse creatively, please, just don’t re-use the same old expletives I overhear in ‘real’ life. The violence, while graphic, complemented the lies superbly. The citizens of Camorr could teach the Klingons a few creative things about revenge.

I felt compelled to complete the story, vainly pursuing relevant truth through the morass of deception. While much was revealed during the denouement, I felt no remorse for any of the characters, found none of them redemptive or regretful and resolved to wash my hands of this series and its characters.

If you like lots of political intrigue, revenge simmered and savored for decades, plot twists straining credibility and a cast of characters making a mad dash for malignancy, this is the story for you.